In-depth reviews

Volvo XC90 review - Reliability and safety

Volvo’s reputation looks safe thanks to the XC90's comprehensive technology package and solid warranty

Traditionally, Volvo has been known for its dependability, and it placed 9th out of 30 manufacturers in our 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey - an improvement from 10th spot in 2020 and 13th spot in 2019. The XC90 didn't feature in the Best cars to own poll, but its smaller XC40 sibling achieved an impressive 8th position out of a 75-car list.

Euro NCAP tested the XC90 in 2015. It earned a full five-star rating and a 97% score for occupant protection, plus a 100% score for safety tech. This is partly thanks to two pieces of tech that made their debut in the XC90: a Run Off-Road system that senses if you veer off the tarmac – preparing the car for a crash – and special energy-absorbent seats that’ll reduce the impact of a big hit.  

There’s also a clever autonomous braking system, which stops you turning in front of an oncoming car. This is part of Volvo’s enhanced City Safety package, which also helps protect against collisions with motorcycles, swerving bicycles or errant pedestrians.

Other safety features include a passenger compartment constructed from high-strength steel. Known as boron steel, it’s the strongest steel in use in the auto industry, and Volvo reckons the XC90 uses more of it (by percentage of body weight) than any other car on sale.

On top of this, the XC90 gets all of the usual safety kit, including seven airbags that provide protection to all three rows of seats and ESP, while blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert form part of the Intellisafe Surround system.

Warranty 

All Volvos come with a three-year/60,000 mile warranty, which is about average for the class – although the BMW X5 has no mileage limitation on its three-year cover.

Servicing 

Servicing costs for the Volvo XC90 can be fixed if you purchase one of the marque’s set plans. They can last between two and six years, varying in cost dependent on annual mileage. You do not have to buy these immediately, meaning there is no pressure to buy a package at the same time as buying your car.

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